Virus Shook the Streaming Star: Estimating the COVID-19 Impact on Music Consumption

Marketing Science, Forthcoming

74 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2020 Last revised: 28 Aug 2021

See all articles by Jaeung Sim

Jaeung Sim

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management

Daegon Cho

College of Business, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Youngdeok Hwang

City University of New York (CUNY) - Paul H. Chook Department of Information Systems & Statistics

Rahul Telang

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Date Written: July 11, 2020

Abstract

Many have speculated that the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a surge in the use of online streaming services. However, this assumption has not been closely examined for music streaming services, the consumption patterns of which can be different from video streaming services. To provide insights into this question, we analyze Spotify’s streaming data for weekly top 200 songs for two years in 60 countries between June 2018 and May 2020, along with varying lockdown policies and detailed daily mobility information from Google. Empirical evidence shows that the COVID-19 outbreak significantly reduced music streaming consumption in many countries. We also find that countries with larger mobility decreases saw more notable downturns in streaming during the pandemic. Further, we reveal that the mobility effect was attributable to the complementarity of music consumption to other activities and likely to be transient rather than irreversible. Alternative mechanisms, such as unobservable Spotify-specific factors, a demand shift from top-selling songs to niche music, and supply-side effects, did not explain the decline in music consumption.

Keywords: digital distribution, lockdown restrictions, music streaming, pandemic, Spotify

JEL Classification: L82, L86, M31, O38

Suggested Citation

Sim, Jaeung and Cho, Daegon and Hwang, Youngdeok and Telang, Rahul, Virus Shook the Streaming Star: Estimating the COVID-19 Impact on Music Consumption (July 11, 2020). Marketing Science, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3649085 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3649085

Jaeung Sim

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management

1 University Place
Stamford, CT Fairfield 06901
United States

Daegon Cho (Contact Author)

College of Business, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) ( email )

85 Hoegiro, Dongdaemoon-gu
Seoul 02455
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Youngdeok Hwang

City University of New York (CUNY) - Paul H. Chook Department of Information Systems & Statistics ( email )

1 Bernard Baruch Way
New York, NY 10010
United States

Rahul Telang

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

4800 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-1155 (Phone)

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